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Israel approves 1,100 more settlement homes

09-28-2011 08:29 BJT

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Israel approves 1,100 more settlement homes

Israel approved on Tuesday the construction of 1,100 settlement homes on annexed land in the West Bank, complicating global efforts to renew peace talks and defuse a crisis over a Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations.

Israel's decision was met by a chorus of Western criticism including a call from Britain to "revoke" it, while its close ally, the United States said it was "deeply disappointed" with what it saw as a "counter-productive" step.

A construction site is seen in Gilo, a Jewish settlement
that Israel erected on land it captured in the West Bank in
a 1967 war and annexed unilaterally as part of its declared
capital, Jerusalem. Photograph: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas applied at the U.N. on Friday for full Palestinian membership, a move opposed by Israel and the United States, which urged him to resume peace talks.

Abbas has made a cessation of Israeli settlement building a condition for returning to negotiations which collapsed a year ago after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month partial moratorium on construction.

The so-called Quartet of international mediators -- the United States, the European Union, Russia and the U.N. -- has called for talks to begin within a month and urged both sides not to take unilateral actions that could block peacemaking.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the new housing units represented "1,100 'noes' to the Quartet statement" urging a resumption of frozen peace talks.

"Israel is challenging the will of the international community with the continued settlement policy," Nabil Abu Rdainah, an Abbas spokesman, said.

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Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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